it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…

orange clove

Oh my ~ how does one describe the scents of Christmas…. 

Pine needles and Christmas trees, gingerbread, peppermint candy canes, fresh oranges (and cloves!), Christmas cookies fresh from the oven, mulled cider or wine, a steaming cup of hot cocoa… As different as it may be for each one of us, I think there is also a real “connectedness” when it comes to the scents of the Christmas season.  So good news.  I have THREE special treats for you to enjoy today, and I think that you are going to enjoy each one of them… Please let me know if you try one or have a favorite!

(#1) Orange Clove Pomanders (pic above)

I make these every year, and if you have never made one… this is the year to give it a go.  They smell SO good (especially while you are making them), the “design” ideas are endless, they cost next to nothing and they are SUPER SIMPLE!!!  Here is a little video to get you motivated…Orange Clove Pomanders.  OK, and another one

As for the next little yummy scented goodie, I have a few people to thank.  Grace Bonney has a wonderful blog that is chocked full of great ideas, “Design Sponge”, and I strongly encourage you to check it out!  Secondly, the writer of the article (below) is part of the Design Sponge team, and her name is Ashley English.  To check out her posts, click here.  Finally, a thank you to my friend, Jerrod (from Brandtabulous), for turning me on to the site initially!!  Big thanks to all…

(#2) Small Measures: Natural Room Spritz

I have what I’ve dubbed a “hound’s nose.” Depending on how you look at it, this can be a blessing or a curse. I can sniff out specific aromas as soon as I step into a business or residence. This is great when it’s a French bakery, and less pleasant when it’s, say, a cat’s litterbox. When I was pregnant, this sense was magnified. Oh, the gripes my long-suffering husband had to withstand!

The thing is, though, that my particular olfactory department is especially affected by synthetic smells. I’ve been in the car with my mother when she decided to remove her nail polish and just about had to pull the car over because of my intense reaction to her polish remover’s scent. So when it comes to fragrances in my home, I go as natural as possible. There are a number of truly wonderful room spritzers available for purchase today, but I love whipping up a bottle of my own. It’s easy to do, cost effective (once you’ve purchased some essential oils, that is) and customizable in multitudinous permutations.

For today’s Small Measures, I’m sharing three seasonally themed all-natural room-spritz blends. Now you can freshen up your space while keeping synthetic (and potentially toxic) ingredients out. And if your nose is anything like mine, this is a very, very good thing indeed! — Ashley English

Any time I come across a bottle whose shape or general appearance appeals to me, I remove the label and squirrel it away for later use. This comes in handy when making room spritzers. All of the bottles and misters shown above were up-cycled from their previous incarnations (which include a bottle of Chinese herbs, a vanilla extract bottle and a personal fragrance bottle). If you don’t have bottles or misters on hand, you can often find both at natural foods stores or at Mountain Rose Herbs (a wonderful supplier of essential oils, also).

For each of the three blends listed here, place the essential oils in a 4- to 8-ounce jar. Add 3/4 cup of ethanol (I used vodka), and top off the bottle with distilled water. Shake, spritz and enjoy!

Winter Wonderland

  • 10 drops balsam fir needle essential oil
  • 10 drops juniper essential oil
  • 10 drops pine essential oil

Citrus Grove

  • 10 drops lemon or lemongrass essential oil
  • 10 drops orange or tangerine essential oil
  • 10 drops grapefruit or bergamot essential oil

Sugar & Spice

  • 10 drops clove or nutmeg essential oil
  • 10 drops cinnamon or anise essential oil
  • 10 drops vanilla essential oil

What about you? Got any natural, simple ways to freshen up a room? (Check out my post from last December on making a natural potpourri!) I’d love to hear them. With the holiday season right around the corner, having a go-to room spritzer on hand is just what you (and your guests) could stand to have around.

Images and styling by Jen Altman

christmas scent

(#3) Christmas Scent


  • 2 -4 tablespoons cloves
  • 2 -4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 oranges, sliced
  • 1/2 lemons, sliced
  1. Add orange and lemon slices to dry mixture of spices. Put in a small sauce pan with 4 cups of water (or apple juice/cider). Simmer on low to release the fragrance. IF you simmer it for a few hours, you will need to add more water occasionally so it doesn’t boil dry. Store in refrigerator when not in use, to prevent molding. It can be simmered over and over again! Always add more water to equal 4 cups before each use.
  2. TO GIVE AS A GIFT: put ingredients in a quart-sized decorative jar. Add enough water to fill jar. Add a few drops of red food coloring if desired. Close securely and give with a small gift tag explaining how to use it.
  3. Note, I prefer to use the lesser amount of cloves so that they don’t overwhelm the other fragrances.

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